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Flag of Algeria
Map of Algeria
Introduction Algeria
After a century of rule by France, Algeria became independent in 1962. The surprising first round success of the fundamentalist FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) party in the December 1991 balloting caused the army to intervene, crack down on the FIS, and postpone the subsequent elections. The FIS response has resulted in a continuous low-grade civil conflict with the secular state apparatus, which nonetheless has allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties. FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded itself in January 2000 and many armed militants surrendered under an amnesty program designed to promote national reconciliation. Nevertheless, residual fighting continues. Other concerns include Berber unrest, large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, and the need to diversify the petroleum-based economy.
Geography Algeria
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Geographic coordinates:
28 00 N, 3 00 E
Map references:
total: 2,381,740 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 2,381,740 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 6,343 km
border countries: Libya 982 km, Mali 1,376 km, Mauritania 463 km, Morocco 1,559 km, Niger 956 km, Tunisia 965 km, Western Sahara 42 km
998 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 32-52 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
arid to semiarid; mild, wet winters with hot, dry summers along coast; drier with cold winters and hot summers on high plateau; sirocco is a hot, dust/sand-laden wind especially common in summer
mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Chott Melrhir -40 m
highest point: Tahat 3,003 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
Land use:
arable land: 3.21%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 96.58% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
5,600 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion from overgrazing and other poor farming practices; desertification; dumping of raw sewage, petroleum refining wastes, and other industrial effluents is leading to the pollution of rivers and coastal waters; Mediterranean Sea, in particular, becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion, and fertilizer runoff; inadequate supplies of potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note:
second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)
People Algeria
32,277,942 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33.5% (male 5,512,369; female 5,311,914)
15-64 years: 62.4% (male 10,175,135; female 9,950,315)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 610,643; female 717,566) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.68% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
22.34 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
5.15 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
39.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.24 years
female: 71.67 years (2002 est.)
male: 68.87 years
Total fertility rate:
2.63 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.07% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian
Ethnic groups:
Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%
Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%
Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61.6%
male: 73.9%
female: 49% (1995 est.)
Government Algeria
Country name:
conventional long form: People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
conventional short form: Algeria
local short form: Al Jaza'ir
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Sha'biyah
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
48 provinces (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Ain Defla, Ain Temouchent, Alger, Annaba, Batna, Bechar, Bejaia, Biskra, Blida, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bouira, Boumerdes, Chlef, Constantine, Djelfa, El Bayadh, El Oued, El Tarf, Ghardaia, Guelma, Illizi, Jijel, Khenchela, Laghouat, Mascara, Medea, Mila, Mostaganem, M'Sila, Naama, Oran, Ouargla, Oum el Bouaghi, Relizane, Saida, Setif, Sidi Bel Abbes, Skikda, Souk Ahras, Tamanghasset, Tebessa, Tiaret, Tindouf, Tipaza, Tissemsilt, Tizi Ouzou, Tlemcen
5 July 1962 (from France)
National holiday:
Revolution Day, 1 November (1954)
19 November 1976, effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, and 28 November 1996
Legal system:
socialist, based on French and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts in ad hoc Constitutional Council composed of various public officials, including several Supreme Court justices; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Ali BENFLIS (since 26 August 2000)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 15 April 1999 (next to be held NA April 2004); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA elected president; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA over 70%; note - his six opposing candidates withdrew on the eve of the election citing electoral fraud
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the National People's Assembly or Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani (389 seats - changed from 380 seats in the 2002 elections; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Council of Nations (144 seats; one-third of the members appointed by the president, two-thirds elected by indirect vote; members serve six-year terms; the constitution requires half the council to be renewed every three years)
elections: National People's Assembly - last held 30 May 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); Council of Nations - last held 30 December 2000 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: National People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FLN 199, RND 48, MRN 43, MSP 38, PT 21, FNA 8, Nahda 1, PRA 1, MEN 1, independents 29; Council of Nations - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RND 79, FLN 12, FFS 4, MSP 1 (remaining 48 seats appointed by the president, party breakdown NA)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders:
Algerian National Front or FNA [Moussa TOUATI]; Democratic National Rally or RND [Ahmed OUYAHIA, chairman]; Islamic Salvation Front or FIS (outlawed April 1992) [Ali BELHADJ and Dr. Abassi MADANI (imprisoned), Rabeh KEBIR (self-exile in Germany)]; Movement of a Peaceful Society or MSP [Mahfoud NAHNAH, chairman]; National Entente Movement or MEN [Ali BOUKHAZNA]; National Liberation Front or FLN [Boualem BENHAMOUDA, secretary general]; National Reform Movement or MRN [Abdellah DJABALLAH]; National Renewal Party or PRA [leader NA]; Progressive Republican Party [Khadir DRISS]; Rally for Culture and Democracy or RCD [Said SAADI, secretary general]; Renaissance Movement or EnNahda Movement [Lahbib ADAMI]; Social Liberal Party or PSL [Ahmed KHELIL]; Socialist Forces Front or FFS [Hocine Ait AHMED, secretary general (self-exile in Switzerland)]; Union for Democracy and Liberty [Mouley BOUKHALAFA]; Workers Party or PT [Louisa HANOUN]
note: a law banning political parties based on religion was enacted in March 1997
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Idriss JAZAIRY
chancery: 2118 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 667-2174
telephone: [1] (202) 265-2800
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Janet A. SANDERSON
embassy: 4 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, Algiers
mailing address: B. P. Box 549, Alger-Gare, 16000 Algiers
telephone: [213] (21) 691-425/255/186
FAX: [213] (21) 69-39-79
Flag description:
two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white; a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent centered over the two-color boundary; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion)
Economy Algeria
Economy - overview:
The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter; it ranks 14th in oil reserves. Algeria's financial and economic indicators improved during the mid-1990s, in part because of policy reforms supported by the IMF and debt rescheduling from the Paris Club. Algeria's finances in 2000 and 2001 benefited from the temporary spike in oil prices and the government's tight fiscal policy, leading to a large increase in the trade surplus, record highs in foreign exchange reserves, and reduction in foreign debt. The government's continued efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. In 2001, the government signed an Association Treaty with the European Union that will eventually lower tariffs and increase trade.
purchasing power parity - $177 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.8% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $5,600 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 17%
industry: 33%
services: 50% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
23% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 25% (1995) (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
35 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
9.4 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
government 29%, agriculture 25%, construction and public works 15%, industry 11%, other 20% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate:
34% (2001 est.)
revenues: $20.3 billion
expenditures: $18.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.8 billion (2001 est.)
petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
6% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
23.556 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
21.847 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
210 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
150 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
$19.5 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%
Exports - partners:
Italy 23%, Spain 13%, US 13%, France 11%, Brazil 7%, (2000)
$10.6 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, food and beverages, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
France 29%, US 9%, Italy 8%, Germany 6%, Spain 5% (2000)
Debt - external:
$24.7 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$100 million (1999 est.)
Algerian dinar (DZD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Algerian dinars per US dollar - 77.889 (January 2002), 77.215 (2001), 75.260 (2000), 66.574 (1999), 58.739 (1998), 57.707 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Algeria
Telephones - main lines in use:
2.3 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
33,500 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: telephone density in Algeria is very low, not exceeding five telephones per 100 persons; the number of fixed main lines increased in the last few years to a little more than 2,000,000, but only about two-thirds of these have subscribers; much of the infrastructure is outdated and inefficient
domestic: good service in north but sparse in south; domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations (20 additional domestic earth stations are planned)
international: 5 submarine cables; microwave radio relay to Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia; coaxial cable to Morocco and Tunisia; participant in Medarabtel; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik, and 1 Arabsat (1998)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 25, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1999)
7.1 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
46 (plus 216 repeaters) (1995)
3.1 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
180,000 (2001)
Transportation Algeria
total: 4,820 km
standard gauge: 3,664 km 1.435-m gauge (301 km electrified; 215 km double-track)
narrow gauge: 1,156 km 1.055-m gauge (1999 est.)
total: 104,000 km
paved: 71,656 km (including 640 km of expressways)
unpaved: 32,344 km (1996 est.)
crude oil 6,612 km; petroleum products 298 km; natural gas 2,948 km
Ports and harbors:
Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Beni Saf, Dellys, Djendjene, Ghazaouet, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda, Tenes
Merchant marine:
total: 73 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 903,944 GRT/1,051,433 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 25, chemical tanker 7, liquefied gas 10, petroleum tanker 5, roll on/roll off 12, short-sea passenger 4, specialized tanker 1, includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: United Arab Emirates 2 (2002 est.)
136 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 54
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 82
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
under 914 m: 19 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 38
1 (2002)
Military Algeria
Military branches:
Peoples National Army (ANP), Algerian National Navy (ANN), Air Force, Territorial Air Defense, National Gendarmerie
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 9,016,048 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 5,513,317 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 388,939 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.87 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.1% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Algeria
Disputes - international:
part of southeastern region claimed by Libya; Algeria supports exiled West Saharan Polisario Front and rejects Moroccan administration of Western Sahara

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003